Corsair Hydro CPU cooling + Antec 120mm fans

I'd like to share some advice that may be valuable to other system builders. To simplify my builds while allowing for max overclocking, I go with liquid-cooled CPU and stock-cooled GPU. I've built 2 liquid-cooled CPU rigs so far, both with Corsair Hydro series as the CPU cooling solution. In both cases, the radiator, pump, and cooling block are excellent quality, but the included 120mm fans that cool the radiator are complete crap: noisy, with a tinnitus-inducing metallic whine at high speeds, and weak air circulation. I get much better results by replacing the included Corsair fans with Antec 3-speed "cool blue" LED Tricool 120mm fans. With Antec fans, I get better air flow with about 0.1-0.2 GHz higher OC at equivalent load, less noise, and no obnoxious metallic whine. Also, it may be possible - just a guess - that the icy blue LEDs improve the overall cooling profile compared to unlit fans.

So, if you're building with Corsair Hydro, be sure to pick up a pair of Antec 3-speed LED Tricool 120mm fans. Make sure to get the 3-speed fans with the manual switch. The switch will have L/M/H settings. Set to 'H' (High) for both fans. You do *not* need to connect the fans to the Corsair Hydro cooling block. Just connect the fans to your PSU and switch the fans to High.

[Edit.] Here is the Antec fan I use profiled at Amazon.
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  1. Terrible radiator fans.

    You want fans that have high static pressure, this is needed to push air through the radiator.
  2. Quote:
    In both cases, the radiator, pump, and cooling block are excellent quality

    On Corsair Hydro units? I truly beg to differ...the pumps have very, very poor flow rates and almost non-existent head pressure. Some of the earlier radiators were aluminum and the blocks are copper which makes for a mixed-metals environment making galvanic corrosion imminent. I don't know for sure if they still use aluminium rads, but wouldn't surprise me for the overall cost of the units.
  3. @amuffin: What brand of 120mm fans do you recommend?

    @rubix: What CPU cooler do you recommend?
  4. Noctua NF-12, Silverstone Air Penetrator, Gentle Typhoons. Bunch of better fans.

    Cant speak for Rubix, but my guess would be "if your using a Hydro Closed Loop Cooler, you'l be better off with equivalent air cooling. If you want water, get a proper custom kit".
  5. Quote:
    Cant speak for Rubix, but my guess would be "if your using a Hydro Closed Loop Cooler, you'l be better off with equivalent air cooling. If you want water, get a proper custom kit".

    Pretty much...I really don't have much love for them and would likely never purchase one myself as they exist thus far. Good air cooling can easily be had for 80-90% (or more) of the closed loop cooler performance for a fraction of the cost. I'm an advocate for promoting entry level watercooling kits that actually allow you to add/customize as needed.
  6. Guess I lucked out when I got my Corsair H100i then because I have not had any problems with my fans. I have four 140mm fans that were included with my In Win GRone plus the two Corsair fans that where included with the kit and my rig is still fairly quiet.
  7. Thanks for the contrasting views. Here's my best attempt at an objective bottom line. Currently, my Intel Core-i7 3770K is OC'd from 3.5 to 4.3 (not 4.5 as my sig might state; I've run better tests recently.) Can I expect to obtain a higher OC than 4.3 by going with equivalent air cooling or with another liquid cooling solution than the closed-loop Corsairs? If so, how much higher, and which solution?
  8. Its not like Air Cooling is just inherently better or CLC's inherently bad, just air-cooling often does the same job as equivalent CLC's a lot cheaper. They are just two differing cooling methods.
    Also we don't know what an equivalent cooler for you is as you haven't told us which Hydro cooler your running. A H60 is roughly equal to a 212 EVO, while the H100i can be compared to a Noctua NH-D14.

    If your on the H60, pretty much everything that's billed as high end cooling will be better.
    If your on the H100i, pretty much the only improvement from there is custom water-cooling, anything else would be a side-grade.
  9. @manofchalk. Nice bit of clairvoyance, since I do have both an H60 and H100 - the former on my HDTV rig, the latter on my gaming rig. For some reason, my sig isn't showing up so you can't see my system specs which mention the Hydros. From your reply, I get the impression that stepping up to the next increment of cooling performance on the gaming rig would be a learning curve + quite expensive.
  10. Not overly expensive, theres a $35 difference between a decent entry level kit and a H100i.

    H100i. $110
    XSPC RS240 Raystorm kit. $145

    Learning curve there definitely is, which is why CLC's exist, its water-cooling without the difficulty.
  11. Watercooling isn't that difficult- it just requires a bit of understanding before you do it, much like anything else. Closed loop coolers just provide the simplicity of an air cooler with the pseudo-moniker of watercooling into a single package.

    The biggest misconception is that these 'liquid coolers' should perform better than good air coolers and more like actual watercooling loops when they don't. They work well for their basic design, but I think far too many people have elevated expectations of what they get for the price and contents of the package.
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